On May 2, 1981, the California State Railroad Museum
opened to the public, as did the Museum Library. The library has been an integral component of CSRM since the project's inception. It was clear to the founders of the Museum that a thoughtfully assembled collection of published, manuscript, and pictorial materials would not only enhance the museum's services but also support its conservation and education programs. With this goal in mind, as railroad equipment and artifacts were gathered for study and exhibit, collections staff also acquired documentary materials to form the nucleus of the California State Railroad Museum Library.
The focus of the Library collection is the history of railroads and railroading in California and the adjacent states from the 1850s to the present. Collections also cover selected railroad topics throughout North America, including Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Emphasis is on acquiring materials relating to the social, economic, political, cultural, technological and environmental impacts that the industry has had, and continues to have, on the region.
The collection has been assembled primarily through donations from individual and corporate benefactors. Gifts range in size from a single menu to hundreds of cartons. The 1982 deposit of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society research collection expanded the Library's resources. The state and the non-profit California State Railroad Museum Foundation provide for the purchase of selected additions through an opportunity acquisition program.
Reference sources include a wide range of books, periodicals, railroad association and union publications, ephemera, government documents, and trade catalogues. The Library also collects manuscript materials and corporate records, photographs, maps and engineering drawings. See Library Collections for more detailed information about the Museum's documentary collections.
California State Railroad Museum Library
111 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: (916) 323-8073
Fax: (916) 327-5655